14 Jul Why we’re Still Travelling
Back in 2013, travel-starved and weary from the routine of daily life in London, Andrew and I chose to leave the UK to travel the world indefinitely. The decision wasn’t driven solely by a desire to simply see the world, I was also searching for something more: the freedom to create a better way of life. So, has travel enabled us to create our dream lifestyle?
Why we Left the UK to Travel in 2013
These words from a post I wrote four years ago, before our journey even began, really encapsulate what I had hoped travel would do for us:
“We want to construct our lives so that they’re full of the things we love most; being together as much as possible, seeing new places and learning new things. I want to take back my time, to write about the things I want to write about, to work in the way I want to, to swim and walk and visit new places, to see Andrew for more than a few hours each evening after work before we go to bed exhausted, ready to start the whole cycle again in the morning… That, I think, is what travel will do for us – it’ll give us the chance to create the kind of life we really want to live.”
Was I right, has travel allowed us to carve a life we really want to live? Well, almost. I can say with certainty that since I left the UK my life has been a million times more fulfilling and exciting than it used to be. I’ve wandered through Asia, Oceania, the USA and Europe and even made Hanoi, Vietnam, my home for the better part of a year. I volunteered my time in the Philippines and Thailand and learnt how to teach and earn money abroad. I’ve done so many new things: from climbing volcanoes and trekking across rice terraces to kayaking, caving and skydiving.
There have been homesick moments, but I feel that in some ways travel has brought me to closer to friends and family. When I visit the UK I now spend chunks of quality time with people instead of the odd snatched weekend I used to squeeze in amongst the routine of daily of life when I lived in London. Family and friends have visited us abroad and we’re set to enjoy some more family holidays this summer. House sitting has also allowed us to stay connected with London and we’ve revisited our favourite city at least once a year since leaving; we get to explore and revel in the delights of the Big Smoke without having to worry about work.
Tough Times and Getting Back on Track
However, I can’t pretend that it’s all been smooth sailing. For the first few months of this year I battled daily with internal insecurities and fear about our long-term future; I was often crippled with anxiety. I didn’t know how to move forward, I’d never lost my love of travel but I’d somehow stumbled into teaching as a way to fund our lifestyle and it wasn’t right for me. I missed writing but felt that it wasn’t a reliable enough option for making a living. I wasn’t getting on with Spain. Our money was running low. For the first time ever I actually started to question whether we’d done the right thing in leaving our London lives to travel.
Thankfully, this dark period passed and I can now say that I feel happy and excited for the future. I realise that I had to go through those struggles to learn what we need to do next: build that lifestyle we originally aspired to create when we first left the UK. Once we made that decision it was like we’d found our way back onto our path again. We’re now ready to move back to Thailand in August and become digital nomads; through writing and online teaching we finally hope to achieve the life of freedom we first set out to discover when we left the UK in 2013.
Why do you travel? Let us know in the comments below.